Today was a very different day from yesterday. Less emotional but a lot more physical – our task was to paint the inside of the church at Tinca.
Sadly Michael and Edith weren’t very well so we left them in the safe hands of Mona and after morning prayer and a gorgeous breakfast, the ten of us and Daniel set off in the mini bus to the Gypsie church in Tinca.
After some very strict and clear instructions from Daniel we set about the first coat of painting. Wendy was immediately told off for going over the lines and was taken off of long pole duty, and the rest of the girls were given lessons on painting straight!! But we soon got it together and after a couple of hours the first coat was on.
We then took half an hours break for lunch (and to let the first coat to dry) and to play some football with some of the children who had started to gather outside of the church. The football skills from the St Stephens team were nothing to write home about, until the star of the show Iz Plimmer, stepped off the bench and scored pretty much all the goals, (although after a dirty tackle was then sent off!!)
We were then called back in to put a second coat on the church. This time we were like a well oiled machine, everyone had their role, we worked in beautiful harmony – Wendy on the intricate bits, the girls on the rollers and Ben, Dave and Denis on the tricky bits. Mark managed to get more paint on himself than the walls and you will see from the picture below, he was a lot slower than the rest of the team so was made to stay behind and finish his work on his own while the others drank tea and mocked him.
Once Mark finally finished we were all very proud of ourselves for accomplishing this task in just one day. We then had some time to interact with the Gypsy children, handing out our gifts, playing football and having fun with the children.
It was then time to leave and we were taken through the middle of the Tinca community to see the houses and to get a feel for how the community live. The Gypsy homes were a mixture of small brick poorly built houses, wooden constructions barely standing and absolute hovels. The children we met were beautiful,and hearing them laugh was heart warming, but as we drove through their community it was just so sad to know that none of these people will get the chance to get out of this poverty trap. Hopefully the work that Daniel and his team at Charis do will start to help turn this situation around.
We arrived back at Charis at 6pm all covered in paint, and Mark was very gentlemanly and jumped in the shower first so left no time for the girls to wash their paint off! But at least Mark smelt lovely at dinner!!
After dinner we had a fantastic “home group gathering” with Daniel and his daughter Emma’s) home group. All 32 of us worshiped together, prayed together and listened to two very powerful testimonies where we heard how they became Christians when God had called them during their time of need.
The evening ended in us all chatting, eating home made pastries and playing push ha-penny. Of which Lynn came a pathetic third, Mark came second (although the jury is still out on a dubious move than some may call “cheating”) and Wendy sailed through as the very clear winner.
Edith, Michael and Dennis sadly missed the gathering tonight due to a mixture of illness and exhaustion. Please help us pray for them tonight that God will help them get better and stronger so they are well enough to join us on our trip to Telechiu…… tomorrow, where our task is to paint the inside and outside of their church.
Note from Mark – this has been written solely by Wendy Owens!!!!